Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gubmint Cheese

The following article is solely an opinion piece of the author and does not reflect the thoughts, feelings, opinions, attitudes or beliefs of any other wild horse, burro or equine enthusiast across the globe.

Due to the large body of evidence regarding the ability of western stockman whose paths are crossed to retaliate in often unyielding and brutal fashions, (regardless of their stature in society), if you are a western stockman reading this, please remember that you are suppose to look like you value individual freedom, which includes opinions such as mine. Also, may I throw out for your consideration; it’s just not good business to bite the working class hand that feeds you.

Despite the lack of data, BLM has proceeded with horse removals using targets based on perceived population levels dating back to 1971 and/or recommendations from BLM advisory groups comprised largely of livestock permittees.”
Improvements Needed In Federal Wild Horse Program
Government Accounting Office
Report RCED-90-110, August 1990

Well, it’s that time again for the Nevada Cattleman’s Association (NCA) to hold their annual convention in good ole (as in Good Ole Boy) Elko, Nevada, November 10-12, 2010, first announced in the NCA’s Executive Director’s September Monthly Message titled, “75th NCA Convention Nears; Wild Horse Gathers: Let Your Voice Be Heard”.

Included in the message was how NCA coordinated with a cozy coalition to send letters of opposition to the same Congressional representatives who signed on to a July 30, 2010, letter urging a moratorium on round ups until a scientific study by the National Academy of Science (NAS) could be completed.

While the Director ignored the Congressional call for science-based management as the reason for the moratorium, an inaccurate but easy-to-read summary was presented to NCA members by merely stating, “The letter was filled with misinformation and half truths”.

The NCA Monthly Message also encouraged members to submit a long list of unsubstantiated talking points to cattleman conspirator Secretary Salazar in support of continued wild horse stampedes. These included crocodile tears for starving and dehydrated mustangs, lack of humane treatment by leaving them on the range to die and what fabulous stewards permittees are of biodiversity, wildlife and rangeland health on public lands.

As I read through the pile of cow patties being served on a golden platter, I was struck at how the public lands Welfare Queens showed no shame in their desperate defense of their government cheese.

A welfare queen is a pejorative phrase used in the United States to describe people who are accused of collecting excessive welfare payments through fraud and manipulation.”
Wikipedia, 10/15/10

The rural ranching community in Nevada has been shown to be predominately Republican, a party characterized by propaganda touting fiscal responsibility, belief in a free-market equals a free society and demands for reduced government regulations and involvement.

The GOP front for the GOB (Good Ole Boys) network was actually the first to create the image of an inner city Welfare queen, a stereotype and name coined by none other than self-proclaimed Sage Brush Rebel and GOB hero, Ronald Reagan himself.

With Reagan’s help, the New Right of the early 90’s targeted many of the welfare programs through derogatory connotations singling out women (and American African women in particular), for engaging in lazy, immoral behavior and using children to increase their government sponsored incomes. Not surprisingly, most of the stories used to create this stereotype - including Reagan’s - turned out to be false.

Apparently, the welfare queens of the inner city had a lot to learn from the original Welfare Queens of public lands. While inner city queens waited on lists for months to access government housing on postage stamps butted back to back in run down neighborhoods, the public lands Welfare Queens commanded tens of thousands of acres for their backyard with demands this right be passed down from generation to generation with no questions asked.

Pushing out children by the dozen to receive government subsidies was no match for pushing out cattle numbering in the thousands and food stamps paled in comparison to the $1.35 p/month ranchers are forced to pay to feed a 1,200 lb. plus animal. This equates to the total weight of an inner city queen, her entire diaper bound brood, her current partner found sneaking out of the bedroom during welfare inspections with hundreds of pounds still left over.

To the GOB Welfare Queens, fiscal responsibility only applies to any government program that’s not supporting them while the free-market is invoked only after they transport their government gorged beef to livestock auctions to sell to the highest bidder.

THE MYTH: “Over time, the cowboys of the American West developed a personal culture of their own, a blend of frontier and Victorian values that even retained vestiges of chivalry. Such hazardous work in isolated conditions also bred a tradition of self-dependence and individualism, with great value put on personal honesty.”
Wikipedia, 10/15/10

The modern Western rancher grew from the frontier work of the American “cowboy” (literal meaning - a boy who tends cows) but in reality, the majority of today’s ranchers are far removed from their historical roots.

Bloated by government subsidies, giveaways and handouts, the self-dependence of their ancestors is only a dim memory of prodigy who now ferociously suckle the government teat while the individualism of yesteryear has been reduced to a battle cry masking childish tantrums thrown by spoiled brats who don’t get their way.

Don’t me wrong, just because they are cow boys doesn’t prevent them from being dangerous!

The western cowboy now turned rancher also shares many common themes illustrated in William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”. This is a story of how a group of boys stranded on a deserted island descended into primitive and savage behavior. They eventually turned lazy and idle as struggles for power and domination became the central theme of their daily existence, much like the Western stockman of today.

To me, the most notable difference between the boys in Lord of the Flies and today’s modern cow boys is, the boys in the book were rescued and returned to civilized behaviors; the modern day rancher sprouted from a culture developed by boys who continued to stay isolated and so, never really learned how to grow up.

While the GOB Welfare Queens of the NCA speak of half-truths and misinformation about wild horses and burros on public lands, I reflected on Nevada’s proud ranching heritage. Here, on almost exclusive owned public lands, many ranchers hide out in remote areas and demand their names be kept secret lest the taxpaying public actually catch wind of who is turning our landscapes to waste for a pittance.

One of Nevada’s proudest heritage moments was when a Nevada consulting firm (with absolutely no affiliation with the Nevada Cattleman’s Association, I’m sure) issued a report titled, “A Technical Review of U.S. General Accounting Office Rangeland Management and Public Rangelands Reports 1988-1990” in response to the GAO’s findings about the truth of public lands livestock grazing.

Despite lack of adequate data on the number of wild horses the land can support, BLM has proceeded with removing horses. For example, BLM’s Nevada State Office concluded that available data were not adequate to justify removing wild horses; however, in both instances BLM’s responsible district and resource area offices chose not to revise their plans to remove horses in their areas. In contrast, BLM has frequently used the lack of detailed carrying capacity and range monitoring data to explain why it has not taken action to reduce widely recognized overgrazing by domestic livestock.”
Improvements Needed In Federal Wild Horse Program
Government Accounting Office
Report RCED-90-110, August 1990

Apparently, the GAO was forced to defend then recently released rangeland reports as cow boys ran balling to Congress and waiving the consulting firms report to demand retractions from a “biased” GAO. The list of Congressional requesters demanding the GAO review their own methodology included Senators Harry Reid, Conrad Burns, Larry Craig, Orrin Hatch, and John McCain to name a few.

What were some of the main bones of contentions the Nevada consulting firm had with what the GAO had to report?

They screamed about how the problems of riparian area destruction, overstocked grazing allotments and the resulting declining and potentially permanent range conditions were mostly attributed to livestock grazing. They cried about the GAO’s recommendation that more aggressive enforcement of trespass livestock be addressed, more comprehensive data on land conditions and trends be made available, and of course, they had a hissy fit when the GAO reported the range issues stockman continue to attribute to wild horses and burros fell squarely on the suckling livestock industry instead.

The GAO’s review and response to the consulting firms report, not surprisingly for those of us living in a state controlled by these Hand-Out Harry’s was, “the consulting firm’s critique is not valid…contained little factual data to substantiate its assertions [and] misrepresented our reports’ findings to support its position”.

GAO found that despite congressional direction, BLM’s decisions on how many wild horses to remove from federal rangelands have not been based on direct evidence that existing wild populations exceed what the range can support. Moreover, wild horse removals often have not been accompanied by reductions in authorized livestock grazing levels or effective range management to increase the land’s capacity. As a result, range conditions have not demonstrably improved….”
Improvements Needed In Federal Wild Horse Program
Government Accounting Office
Report RCED-90-110, August 1990

However, the NCA made nary a peep when the DOI’s new grazing regulations came out in 2006, despite long-time BLM employees Erick Campbell and Bill Brookes claims of doctored environmental analysis and suppression of scientific information supporting how the cattle industry would have “slow, long-term impact on wildlife and biological diversity in general”.

Campbell also called the DOI’s approval of the Bush Era grazing regulations a “white wash” and “a crime” as well as adding, “They took all of our science and reversed it 180 degrees”. Brookes added, “Everything I wrote was totally rewritten and watered down”.

Apparently, that’s the kind of misinformation and half-truths NCA can support!

The NCA’s Monthly Message also showcases Past President Boyd Spratling, currently masquerading as a Representative of Veterinary Medicine on the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. Dr. Spratling (or is it Past President Spratling?) has been busy providing testimony on wild horses in the Interim Public Lands Committee and recently met with Senator Ensign to discuss wild horses and the “El Paso/WWP” situation. (It would seem Senator Ensign is incapable of recognizing a conflict of interest situation even if it is sitting on his lap....)

This is the same Boyd Spratling who refused to address, much less develop, humane handling guidelines for helicopter rounds ups back in 2007 and who stated the deaths of almost 200 wild horses from the Jackson Mountain were the results of “The very people that claim to care the most about those horses were actually the ones driving the death nail in their coffin”.

This same ex-President Spratling also developed the current BLM approved on-the-range stallion castration policy, refused to participate in repeated requests regarding review of BLM management plans and AML decisions for our wild herds, ignored evidence indicating BLMs on the range wild horse and burro population data is in error and failed to address critical issues found within new census techniques now being used to substantiate biologically impossible populations.

BLM also sometimes deferred its horse removal decisions to advisory groups comprised primarily of livestock permittees. In Nevada, BLM established target wild horse population levels on this basis in eight herd areas. Since livestock permittees have a vested interest in keeping wild horse populations low to reduce competition for forage for their livestock, setting horse removal levels on the basis of their views may not be appropriate.”

Improvements Needed In Federal Wild Horse Program
Government Accounting Office
Report RCED-90-110, August 1990

While the NCA relies on old-time mythology of the cow boys “great personal honesty” to sell its hypocritical contortions of rangeland reality, copied below is one of the NCAs talking points about why a moratorium on wild horse gathers must not be allowed:

Elevating one species over another, particularly a species which demands more forage than can be replaced, jeopardizes other users of public lands, and threatens native plants and wildlife species. Finding and keeping Appropriate Management Levels is the key to the balance of management and impacts on public lands. Tipping the scale towards the domination of wild horses does not correlate with the directive of the Bureau of Land Management.
Yes, at long last NCA has finally issued a statement the American public and wild horse and burro enthusiasts can finally agree on; “The elevation of one species over another…jeopardizes other users of public lands.”

And why doesn’t the GOB Welfare Queens want to tell the truth about the reality out on the range?

Because as you peruse the Nevada Cattleman’s Association’s website and see all those smiling faces under their Welfare crowns (a.k.a., the cowboy hat), know those grins weren’t just from saying “Cheese” like the rest of us suckers do, they were saying “Gubmint Cheese!

Wild horse and burro populations consume forage on the public rangelands and consequently contribute to the overgrazing problem. However, as we have noted in previous testimony, the primary cause of the degradation in rangeland resources is poorly managed domestic livestock (primarily cattle and sheep) grazing. When more animals are allowed to graze in an area than the land can support, forage consumption exceeds the regenerative capacity of the natural vegetation, resulting in erosion, watershed damage, and other deterioration. Although recognizing that overgrazing was occurring, BLM range managers reported that no adjustments in the authorized livestock grazing levels were scheduled in 75 percent of the allotments threatened with further damage. These managers cite insufficient data on specific range conditions and resistance by livestock permittees as the primary reasons why action had not been taken.”
Improvements Needed In Federal Wild Horse Program
Government Accounting Office
Report RCED-90-110, August 1990


Historical GAO Rangeland Management Reports

Improvements Needed In Federal Wild Horse Program
(GAO/RCED-90-110, August, 1990)

Observations on Management of Federal Wild Horse Program
Testimony and Statement by James Duffus III, Director
(GAO/T-RCED-91-71, June 20, 1991)

Current Formula Keeps Grazing Fees Low
(GAO/RCED-91-185BR, June 1991)

Assessment of Nevada Consulting Firm’s Critique of Three GAO Reports
(GAO/RCED-82-178R, May 4, 1992)

Congressional Requesters/Contacts and Documents Reviewed
(GAO/RCED-92-193R, May 4, 1992)

Results of Recent Work Addressing the Performance of Land Management Agencies
(GAO/RCED-92-60, May 12, 1992)


Public Lands Grazing Program
Taxpayers For Common Sense

Oprah Accused Of Whipping Up Antibeef Lynch Mob

A Nightmare In The Old West

November 11, 1949 - September 25, 2010


leslie peeples said...

Cindy McDonald this is a well researched and brilliant article. thanks for tellin it like it is!

Craig Downer said...

This is a great article and really exposes the gross hypocrisy involved with the public lands livestock industry and their very dishonest and reprehensible scapegoating of the wild horses and burros for ecological abuses of the public lands they themselves i.e. the livestock ranchers and their supportive bureaucrats have and continue to cause!

Barbara said...

Cindy , you've done it again. There is no end to your amazing research and blog. Many thanks.

Kathleen said...

OMG, the revelations you make! Sickening but surely the TRUTH needs to be exposed for all to see. Thank you so much for all your work.

One question: The graph of allocated AUMS - is that for NV only or for the entirety of BLM lands? And what are the sources for those stats on the graph itself? I have been looking for this information and compiling estimates piecemeal myself from different sources. Would very much like to see how this was sourced and if calculations where required, etc.

Louie Cocroft said...

Former Senator regrets his part in BLM wild horse and burro program
Posted on Jan 28, 2010 by Vivian

Clifford Hansen, a former U.S. senator from Wyoming who introduced the bill to create the program, said he now wishes he could remove his name from the legislation. The law was intended to recognize the significance of wild horses and burros,” said Hansen, now 84, “but talk about a waste of public funds!

MorganLvr said...

Brilliant, Cindy, simply brilliant. Thank you SO much for all the hard work you put into getting the truth out there.